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Full text of "Sun"

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. 



Shelf J\A/JT 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 



£^1^ 



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Number 



Seven, 



THE SUN 



BY 



REV. C. M. WESTLAKE, M.S. 










NEW YORK: 
PHILLIPS & HUNT 

CINCINNATI: 
W ALDEN & STOWE. 



sills 



r— — • — ■ ~~ _. -'- ■■■:-:■ 



The "Home College Series" will contain one hundred short papers on 
a wide range of subjects — biographical, historical, scientific, literary, domes- 
tic, political, and religious. Indeed, the religious tone will characterize all 
of them. They are wntten for every body — for all whose leisure is limited, 
but who desire to use the minutes for the enrichment of life. 

These papers contain seeds from the best gardens in all the world of 
human knowledge, and if dropped wisely into good soil, wi'l bring forth 
harvests of beauty and value. 

They are for the young — especially for young people (and older people, 
too) who are out of the schools, who are full of "business" and "cares," 
who are in danger of reading nothing, or of reading a sensational literature 
^iat is worse than nothing. 

One of these papers a week read over and over, thought and talked about 
at "odd times," will give in one year a vast fund of information, an intel- 
lectual quickening, worth even more than the mere knowledge acquired, a 
taste for solid read ng, many hours of simple and wholesome pleasure, and 
ability to talk intelligently and helpfully to one's friends. 

Pastors may organize "Home College" classes, or "Lyceum Reading 
Unions," or "Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circles," and help the. 
young people to read and think and talk and live to worthier purpose. 

A young man may have his own little " college " all by himself, read this 
series of tracts one after the other, (there will soon be one hundred of them 
ready,) examine himself on them by the " Thought-Outline to Help the Mem- 
oiy," and thus gain knowledge, and, what is better, a love of knowledge. 

And what a young man may do in this respect, a young woman, and both 

old men and old women, may do. 

J. H. Vincent. 

% New York, Jan., 1883. 



Copyright, 1863, by Phillips & Hunt, New York. 



Jpome Collet gum gumbtr Stbm, 



THE SUN. 



BY REV. C. M. WESTLAKE, M. S. 



The sun is a star. A star twinkles and shines by its own 
light; a planet does not twinkle, and shines by borrowed 
light. The sun dazzles the whole family of planets by its 
brightness, keeps them in bounds by its weight, and supports 
their inhabitants by its heat. 

Something of the relative importance of stars 

, . , » ii/. • Relative im- 

and planets is drawn from the law 01 gravitation, pmtance of the 
Every atom of matter has an attraction for every 
other atom far or near. The strength or degree of attrac- 
tion in any given instance is in proportion to the size, weight, 
and nearness of the attracting body. 

Many stars are larger and brighter than the sun. To us 
the sun is the brightest and largest, because the nearest star. 
In size and weight, it is greatly more than the sum of all the 
planets. In these particulars, we find the superiority of its 
attracting force. 

The keeping of the planets in their orbits, as they move 
around the sun, may be accredited to this superior attraction. 

It cannot account for all planetary movements; but it 
dbes so to such an extent that each and every planet or 
world seems to be lifted momentarily, and swung perpetually 
by the sun. 

Our tiny globe is influenced to some extent bv 

. . r , . J The Earth as 

other bodies revolving in space, vet to such a de- influenced by 

. , . .11, ™, the Sun. 

gree that it seems entirely so by the sun. The 
other forces of the sun are in proportion to its force of attrac- 
tion. These other forces are found in the sunbeam. To its 
powerful and kindly touch the earth is eagerly and most 
joyously responsive. It is so for good and most justifiable 



THE SUJST. 



reasons. These reasons may be seen in the different prop- 
erties found in a sunbeam. If you permit a sunbeam to pass 
through a prism, it will spread out into seven bright bands 
of color. This is called a spectrum. " Many spectrum s 
make a rainbow. These seven colors, in their different com- 
binations, furnish all the infinite shades of the flowers, the 
gorgeous plumages of the birds, and the endless tints of the 
landscape. But below the spectrum there is a ray called 
the calorific ray. You cannot see it, but you feel it when 
you place yourself in the sunlight. It warms you. Again, 
there is another ray called the actinic ray. It is above the 
spectrum, and can neither be seen nor felt ; but it is that 
which draws with unerring pencil the faithful photographic 
likeness upon a plate so prepared as to be sensitive to its 
effects." Thus we find a sunbeam combines light-giving 
rays with heat-giving rays, and these, with others, equally 
distinct, which are productive of chemical influence. 

These different properties of the sunbeam are employed 
to quicken the world into activity and fruitfulness. Nearly 
all the transformations and the displays of energy manifest 
in the world may be directly or indirectly traced to the sun. 
Electricity, magnetism, and chemical force are from it in- 
directly; while its direct agency is manifest in an infinite 
variety of forms. 

The sun contributes abundance of energy to earth, air, and 
water. The animal and vegetable kingdoms alike depend on 
his bounty. " Leaves, flowers, and fruits are beings spun 
from light and air. Sunlight is the mother of color and per- 
fume. It is only under the influence of light that plants are 
sensitive, endowed with periodic movements and capable of 
motion ; in the dark they are rigid and appear to be asleep." 

The enormous masses of coal buried under the surface of 
the earth by geological action are nothing more nor less than 
the product of an ancient vegetation which was, thousands 
of centuries ago, the direct effect of the sun's chemical force. 



THE SUN. 



" Every fire that burns, and every lamp that shines, expend 
heat and light which originally belonged to the sun." Mill- 
ions of ages before the invention of the steam-engine, the 
power it now displays flowed from the sun. All muscular 
power, whether of man or of animals, may be traced to the 
same source. Solar heat contributes to maintain the sea in 
a liquid state and the atmosphere in a gaseous condition; 
while the currents of the atmosphere and the sea, as well as 
the tempests which agitate the one and the other, may be 
traced in large part, at least, to its mechanical force. It is 
the power which in the hurricane snaps fetters of iron, up- 
roots trees, and levels forests to the ground, which in the 
tempest, uniting the forces of wind and wave upon the 
threshing-floor of the sea, beats to pieces hundreds of vessels, 
tossing the chaff upon the shore, and storing the grain in the 
granary of the great deep. "The period of sun spots" is 
possibly in some w T ay more or less intimately connected with 
the disturbances of the magnetic needle and the electric cur- 
rents of the earth, the auroras, cyclones, rainfalls, the pro- 
ductiveness of the earth, and the health of its inhabitants, 
" Sunshine comes to us in the form of heat, and leaves us in 
the form of heat; but betw r een its coming and its going it 
has awakened the various forces of our globe." 

The question, To what extent has the sun affected Man's Kengi- 
the religious nature of man ? is one of interest. affeefe^byttS 
Man at first possessed the knowledge and favor Sun - 
of the true God. By sin he fell from this, and sought other 
objects of worship. The most ancient heathen religions 
were based upon the worship of nature. In this it seems 
most fitting that the highest veneration should be paid to 
the sun. And, indeed, such we find to be the case. 

It is quite probable that Buddhism, which has the largest 
following of any religion in the world — numbering its ad- 
herents by hundreds of millions — has its basis in sun-wor- 
ship. Learned men regard the whole story of Buddha's life 



THE SUN. 



as a sun myth debased into prose. The worship of the sun 
is the only religion which has been able in India to rival 
that of Vishnu and Siva. 

At Multan, in the Punjab, was at one time a temple erect- 
ed to the sun, which was the most celebrated in India. 
To this day the sun fills a large space in the prayers of the 
Hindus. In one of India's sacred books (Manu, iii, 75, 76) 
we find this sentiment : " By sacrifice the house master sus- 
tains this movable and immovable world. Cast into the fire 
the offering goes into the sun ; from the sun is produced the 
rain ; from the rain the nourishment ; from the latter the 
creatures are produced." 

In all pagan systems of religion the first and most impor- 
tant god is Sura, the sun, as the supposed source of heat, gen- 
eration, and growth. Even the Christian religion, though 
far from giving divine honor to the sun, indirectly pays 
tribute to the bright orb of day. Christ is denominated 
"the day-dawn from on high," "the bright and morning 
star." 

Being the fountain of light, heat, and life to the Church, he 
is fitly called " the Sun of righteousness." 

David, with the thought of his quickening and comforting 
power, exclaims, "-The Lord God is a sun!" Isaiah, exhibit- 
ing the state of the Church, "in a perfection which approaches 
nearest to the divine," declares: " The sun shall be no more 
thy light by day ; neither for brightness shall the moon give 
light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlast- 
ing light, and thy God thy glory." 

Eari beliefs as ^ ne more early conceptions of the sun were 
to the Su^s very crude. Ascertained facts were few, coniect- 

nature change J A \ 

with the ures were numerous. Xenophanes, of Colophon, 

growth of so- ' f. * . ■ . i " -i 

Lu science taught that the sun was lit and extinguished 

portant dis- every day, like coals. Anaximenes declared that 

it was flat, like a leaf. Men generally believed 

the earth to be the center of the universe, and that every 



THE SUN. 



twenty-four hours sun, moon, and stars went circling around 
us for our sole and particular concern. Since then the sun 
has sprung into independent existence before the telescope 
and spectroscope. What if modern science has shown more 
mysteries in the sun than it has explained? It has also 
corrected wrong impressions, banished false theories, and 
contributed largely toward a proper construction of its 
nature and powers. It has measured the sun's distance, 
weighed it in the balance, and glimpsed the forces at work 
on its surface. The first practical step in this direction was 
taken by Galileo, in the month of October, 1610, when he 
began the work of the telescope on the sun. It is probable 
he invented, and quite certain he first showed the world 
how to make, the telescope. With this invention dawned 
the golden age of astronomy. In its use the universe was 
infinitely expanded, and a period w r as inaugurated the most 
interesting and momentous in the scientific history of the 
world. 

What the telescope was to Galileo, the spectroscope is, in 
a subordinate sense, to the men of science of to-day. Fol- 
lowing up the researches of Galileo and Kepler, Sir Isaac 
Newton achieved immortality by his discovery of the law 
of gravitation. With him, also, in his classical researches 
on the action of a prism upon sunlight, was the birth of 
"spectrum analysis," the basis of all spectroscopic dis- 
coveries. 

This was nearly two centuries ago, and it is only during 
the last twenty years that spectrum analysis has been ap- 
plied to solar physics. It is the work of the spectroscope to 
present a visible analysis of a beam of light. The spectro- 
scope is a younger sister of the telescope. A powerful 
telescope will magnify an object a thousand times, thus en- 
abling us to see it as if it were a thousand times nearer than 
it is. This it does by gathering together the scattered rays 
of light into a focus. 



6 THE SUM. 



The spectroscope tears up these rays of light into ribbons, 
sorts them, sifts them, and enables us to read in these little, 
slender, bright or dark lines, some of the mysteries of far- 
distant suns. By its means of late a great deal has been 
attempted about the motion and speed of the stars coming 
toward or going from us, and how one star differeth from 
another star in glory and substance. It tells us something 
of the nature of comets and nebulae, the movements taking 
place on the sun and of its chemical constitution. While in 
the " analysis of substances it is delicate to the detection of 
the millionth of a grain." 

The telescope and spectroscope, with other astronomical 
instruments, speak of "man's finest mechanism, highest 
thought and broadest exercise of the creative faculty." In 
their manufacture and use the most exact measurement and 
refinement of calculation is required, and most desirable re- 
sults are obtained. 

The usefulness of practical astronomy and the perfection 
it has attained may be judged from this consideration. 
Take an astronomer blindfolded to any part of the globe, 
give him the instruments of his profession, and, if the stars 
be visible, before twenty-four hours he can tell you within a 
short distance where he is in latitude and longitude. 

With these instruments we compute the sun to 

The Sun's rela- „ . . 

tive distance be distant irom the earth 92,000,000 01 miles. I his 
— size and is obtained by finding the sun's "parallax;" the 
weig ' more accurate way being, perhaps, from observa- 

tions of the " transit " of Venus. From the apparent breadth 
of the sun's disk or face its mean diameter is found to be 
860,000 miles. We say mean diameter, because the sun's 
disk varies slightly in size according to the earth's distance 
from the sun, being largest about January first, when we are 
nearest to it, and smallest about July first, when we are 
farthest from it. 

Knowing from actual experiments the velocity of light, 



THE SUN. 



191,000 miles per second, we find it takes 8 minutes for light 
to reach us from the sun; 3 \ years from the nearest fixed 
star, on an average of 15^ years from the brightest and 
nearest, or stars of the first magnitude ; 120 years from a 
star of the sixth magnitude ; 3,500 years from one of the 
twelfth magnitude ; and so on with others still more distant. 

If a star of the twelfth magnitude were destroyed we 
would still continue to see it for 3,500 years. Thus we have 
6ome idea of the relative distance of the stars, and that the 
sun is very much the nearest one. Yet this nearness is only 
comparative. "If a man had an arm long enough to reach 
the sun it would be 135 years before he knew he was 
burned." Were it possible to run an express train from the 
earth to the sun, going night and day at the rate of 30 miles 
an hour, and starting January 1, 1883, it would not reach 
its destination for about 337 years, or some time in the year 
2220, 

A train going at the above-mentioned speed would accom- 
plish the circuit of our earth in a little over a month, 
where in the same manner it would require about 10 years 
to make the circuit of the sun. The mass or weight of the 
sun is 326,000 times greater than that of our earth ; bur, 
as the matter of which the sun is composed is less dense 
than that of the earth —as wood is less dense than iron— it 
is equal in volume or size to 1,245,000 earths. It weighs a 
a little more than a globe of coals of the same dimensions, 
much less than such a globe of phosphorus. "It would re- 
quire 108 globes, like the earth, in a line to measure the 
sun's diameter, and 339 to be strung like the beads of a 
necklace, to encircle his waist." " It has 700 times the mass 
of all the planets, asteroids, and satellites put together. 
Thus all these bodies are controlled through its greater 
power of attraction." " Apply the principle that attraction 
is in proportion to the mass, and a man who weighs 150 
pounds on the earth weighs 396 on Jupiter, and only 58 ou 



THE SUN. 



Mars ; while on the asteroids he could play with bowlders 
for marbles, hurl hills like Milton's angels, leap into the 
fifth story windows with ease, tumble over precipices with- 
out harm, and go around the little worlds in seven jumps." 
On the moon he would weigh 2 pounds ; but on the sun he 
would weigh 2 tons, and would need the strength of Her- 
cules to bear the burden of his own body. 

The sun's photosphere, sierra, prominences, co- 
TntVrtsofthe rona > spots, faculse, and cyclones, are some of the 

Sun, and the more remarkable of its phenomena. The photo- 
reasons assign- r r 

ed for the Sun's sphere or " light-sphere " is the round shining disk 

phenomena. x . . 

seen by all, and dazzling the eye by its intense 
brightness. With its edge or " limb " terminates all that 
can be seen by the unaided eye. 

By the aid of the telescope, during a total eclipse of 
the sun, we see mounting above this edge the chromo- 
sphere, which one has named the "sierra," and another 
has described as " a quivering flame of fire." Until 
quite lately the stormy flames and outbursts on the limb 
of the sun were only discernible during a total eclipse, but 
now with the spectroscope they may be detected at any 
time. 

Outside the chromosphere and its flaming red "promi- 
nences " is the corona, of which little indeed is known, as it 
can be studied only during the rare moments of total eclipses 
of the sun. In such an eclipse, the moon passing between 
the earth and the sun, its center comes exactly over the 
sun's center, and the globe of the moon, black as ink, is seen 
as it were hanging in mid air, surrounded by a crown of 
soft silvery light. This light extends to a height greater 
than the semi-diameter of the sun, and is known as the solar 
corona. It consists of two parts, the inner and brighter, the 
outer and fainter corona. The outer edge is generally blurred 
and indistinct, fading gently away. The shape is changeful, 
and oftentimes strangely awe-inspiring, shooting out of the 



THE 8 UN. 



central darkness like swinging luminous banners of ghostly- 
light. 

The distinctive feature of its spectrum is a single green line 
not identified with that of any earthly substance. It also 
bears those lines indicating the presence of hydrogen. The 
corona is probably detached particles of matter wholly 
vaporized by intense heat thrown out by the sun, and held a 
greater or less time by " electric influence or force of orbital 
revolution." 

The corona was noticed as far back as the time of Kepler, 
but only within a century was attention attracted to the 
chromosphere with its " rose-colored " prominences, pro- 
tuberances or flames of most fantastic forms. The chromo- 
sphere, lying between the corona and the photosphere, is 
denominated the atmosphere of the sun. Hydrogen is the 
principle material of its upper part, while near its base are 
found the vapors of many metals. It may be considered an 
ocean of heaving, crimson-flame billows around the edge of 
the sun, hotter than the fiercest furnace, and deeper than the 
diameter of the earth. It is swept by hurricanes of flame 
with a velocity of 100 miles per second, and agitated by 
storms of fire exceeding the wildest imagination of the 
human mind. Fiery jets of vapor many times the size of our 
earth leap upward to an incredible distance. 

On September 7, 1871, Professor Ycung, of Princeton 
College, ascertained by careful measurements an immense 
mass of rolling and ever-changing flame, at one time to have 
risen to the height of 50,000 miles, supporting, as it were on 
a pyramid of fire, a cloud of red hydrogen, which rose to the 
distance of 200,000 miles from the limb or edge of the sun. 
Thus we see the sun's " appearance of ever-during calm is 
delusive." That silent, placid, shining orb of light is in 
reality an inconceivably immense roaring, seething, tumultu- 
ous furnace of fire and flame, of heat and radiance. But all 
its parts are not agitated alike. 



10 THE SUN. 



The photosphere, which radiates both light and heat, is ii? 
striking contrast to the gaseous chromosphere, being subject 
to no sensible change of level, though its particles are in a 
state of continual change. The interior of the sun is now 
generally supposed to be composed mainly of such materials 
as form the crust of the earth, yet in a vaporized condition, 
and so intensely heated as to be incapable of chemical union. 
This vapor is compressed into the smallest possible space — 
since gravitation is 27 times greater there than it is on earth 
— by its own weight and that of the outer layers. The loss 
of heat by radiation from its surface results in condensing 
these vapors on the outside to a comparatively dense fluid 
thousands of miles deep, constituting a " cloud-shell," which 
we call the photosphere. 

Start where we will in the study of the sun's phenomena, 
we end with those of its photosphere. Here the greatest 
marvels are found, and possibly in their solution lies the key 
to all that remains. The first remarkable thing seen on the 
sun's surface, when we look at it with a telescope, is dark 
spots. 

To Galileo we owe the discovery of these dark spots and 
his important deduction of the sun's rotation and its period. 
Instead of turning on his axis once in 24 hours, like the 
earth, the sun turns once in the course of about 25 days. 
These spots, singularly like the limitations of our cyclones, 
are limited to those parts nearest the sun's equator. They 
seem to float in the photosphere. Perpetual change is taking 
place : new spots forming, old ones vanishing ; one spot 
breaking into two ; two spots joining into one. Even in a 
single hour great alterations have been noticed. These spots 
consist of three parts : the penumbra or half shade ; inside 
the penumbra a still darker shade called the umbra; and in- 
side this again the central blackness or nucleus. The ques- 
tion has been asked, What is the nature of these spots? 
Among the first attempts to answer this question was, that 



THE SUN. 11 



"they are dark souls of unrighteous angels and men, welter- 
ing on that sea of fire." In a different epoch they were 
represented as "ashes or scoriae, the refuse of the fuel which 
"Sustained the mighty solar conflagration." Of all theories 
which have been offered, the following seems to be the most 
highly approved: "Sun-spots are cavities or hollows in the 
photosphere, and the different shades represent different 
lepths." They are of all dimensions, from the scarcely 
visible pores to the most enormous spots. 

Some of these are chasms so large that, as far as surface 
extent is concerned, they might swallow up 20 or 30 worlds 
like our earth. Aside from these spots, the sun's surface is 
mottled with luminous masses resembling " rice-grains ; " 
but these rice-grains are as large as a continent. 

The most brilliant parts of the sun are termed faculce. 
And we have good reason for supposing they are matter, hot 
and bright, which has been thrown up into the atmosphere 
of the sun. We may see them as projected upon the sun's 
surface, or, better still, as extended beyond the sun's surface 
and projected on the sky, as they are more noticeable when 
near the edge of the solar disk, or about " spots " approach- 
ing the edge. 

Some of these faculae are complicated ridges from 4,000 
miles broad to 40,000 long. Those vast jets of flame and 
hydrogen cloud of the chromosphere, reaching such enor- 
mous heights, are but the upper parts of the same appear- 
ances of which faculoe form the lower parts. This appear- 
ance is sometimes like that of a gigantic fiery tree, whose 
top is something over 100,000 miles above the edge of the 
solar disk, whose branches grow at the rate of 150 miles a 
second. To account for these marvels of the sun, recourse 
is had to solar currents. 

The same thing is going on in the sun as on the earth in 
the way of ascending and descending currents. But in the 
sun the ascending currents are uprushes of intensely hot 



12 THE SUN. 



metallic vapors lighter than its atmosphere. In a colder 
region becoming condensed — so great is the sun's attraction 
— they sweep down with terrific force, cleaving the great 
dark chasms in the photosphere. " They carry down into 
the depths of the solar mass the cooler materials of the upper 
layers, consisting principally of hydrogen, and thus produce 
in their center a decided extinction of light and heat, as 
long as the giratory movement continues." 

This extinction of light and heat is a sun-spot ; for cold- 
ness on the sun means darkness wherever it appears. At 
the base of this cyclone of terrific power, the hydrogen set 
free and reheated at a great depth, sweeps up with equal 
force around the whirlpool, appearing asfaculce on the photo- 
sphere, and as the pyramids and spires of flame above the 
chromosphere. 

"The velocities indicated by these movements are in- 
credible. An up-rush and down-rush at the sides has been 
measured of 20 miles a second ; a side-rush or whirl of 120 
miles a second." These solar cyclones rage from a few 
days to half a year. They sweep over regions more vast 
than the space occupied by a score of such worlds as ours. 
"The sides approach each other at the rate of 20,000 miles 
an hour. The advancing sides strike together. The rising 
wave of fire leaps thousands of miles into space. The blaz- 
ing surge falls again into the incandescent sea, rolls over 
mountains as the ocean over pebbles, and all this for age 
after age without sign of exhaustion or diminution." 

At the period of the greatest number of spots 

The Sun's . . b , , ,. -, \ 

probable past on the sun, it is supposed, we get less light than 

and future, and _ . . . „,, n -. . -, 

source of when it is free from them, lnus, we imd it be- 
longs to the class of variable stars, and has a 
period of 11 years. Infinite variety fills the sky. We be- 
hold suns of all ages and grades. The stars are of different 
colors and degrees of brightness, differing from each other 
and from the sun only in special modifications, and not in 



THE SUN. 13 



general structure. Is it not fair to presume the probable 
past and -future of the sun are the probable past and future 
of every star in the firmament of heaven ? 

What is the probable future of the sun? is a question 
modern science is scarcely prepared to answer. We are not 
certain as to the nature of its interior. If the condensation 
of matter has stored up its heat, possibly millions of years 
hence, with all its planets welded into its mass, the sun will 
roil a cold, black ball through infinite space. If the interior 
is gaseous, then, according to a well-known law of physics, 
the more heat it loses the hotter it becomes. But, while 
the diminution of the solar heat by less than one fourth its 
amount would probably make our earth so cold that ail the 
water on its surface would freeze, an increase by much 
more than one half would probably boil the water all away. 

The balance of causes securing the physical equilibrium of 
our planet, it must be admitted, are very delicately adjusted. 
The modern discoveries of the conservation of force or en- 
ergy, and the mutual convertibility of heat and energy, only 
carry the question forward another stage in its history. 
The enormous volumes of heat thrown off by the sun —of 
which the earth receives so small a part in proportion to the 
whole amount — can be supplied only by a continuous ex- 
penditure of energy. Therefore, any theory as to the sun's 
origin and future must account for that energy. Energy is 
of different grades. Each grade is potentially overcome by 
the higher grades, and all are submissive to the highest. 
We talk of energy of motion, energy of position, energy of 
person, energy of mind. 

But what is the highest, the all-controlling Energy ? One 
by one we feel along the links of the chain of causation till 
we reach the last, and find nothing, if we do not stand in 
the presence of Him to whom " all power is given in heaven 
and on earth," and " who upholdeth all things by the word 
of his power." 



14 THE SUN. 



Standing before him and the works of his hands we are 
led to say, " The rainbow flowers of the footstool- and the 
starry flowers of the throne " alike declare the glory of 
Him whose "countenance was as the sun shineth in his 
strength." 

TheSunasym- The sun, as the grand center of attraction and 
boiofGod. the u i t i ma te source of light and heat and every 
form of power existing in the world, is a striking and im- 
pressive emblem of God. Christ, who said, " I am the light 
of the world," was seen by Paul at midday, shining with a 
light above the brightness of the sun. To the eye of faith 
the sun of nature shines with the glory of "the Sun of 
Righteousness." Hence we say — 

" Well might the sun in darkness hide, 
And shut his glories in, 
When Christ, the mighty Maker, died, 
For man, the creature's sin." 



It was sin that veiled the heavens in darkness at noonday of 
the crucifixion. It is sin that keeps many from receiving 
"the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus 
Christ." A silk thread stretched across the glass of a tele- 
scope will not only entirely cover a star, but also cover so 
much of the heavens that the star, if a small one and near 
the pole, will remain obscured for several seconds. Thus a 
thread appears to be larger in diameter than a star, than a 
sun, shining upon other worlds as our sun shines upon this 
world. 

A sun is thus hidden because of the great distance we are 
from it. Sin has so separated us from God that trifles 
serve to obscure the " Sun of Righteousness." 

The alternation of night and day is explained by the posi- 
tion of the earth in its relation to the sun. Man's relation 
to Christ determines his condition before God. Within the 



THE SUN. 15 



Arctic circle of the north there is unbroken night in winter, 
because this icy region is then turned away from the sun. 
But in summer its position is so changed that it has a " mid- 
night sun," and one continuous day. 

"Thus the changes in our night and day, our summer and 
winter, are not changes in the sun, but are changes of the 
earth's relations to the sun. And just so it is with the rela- 
tion of man to God. God is unchanged — men change ! We 
of the earth have our moods, our spiritual phases. God is 
ever the same — the unchangeable One. We turn away from 
him and we are in darkness ; we turn to him and we are en- 
lightened." It is said some of the people within the limits 
of the frigid zone, at the close of the night of many months, 
when it is time for the sun to appear, go up to the tops of 
the loftiest elevations, striving who shall get the first sight. 
They abandon their usual avocations, forget their accustomed 
delights, clothe themselves in their best apparel, and when 
it is visible they embrace each other with joy, and cry, 
" Ecce Sol ! " " Behold the Sun." When " the Dayspring 
from on high," hath visited us with wondering joy and 
adoring love, we cry, " Behold the true light, which lighteth 
every man that cometh into the world." 



" As by the light of opening day 
The stars are all concealed, 
So earthly pleasures fade away 
When Jesus is revealed." 



" If once all the lamps that are lighted, 

Should steadily blaze in a line, 
"Wide over the land and the ocean, 

What a girdle of glory would shine! 
How all the dark places would brighten ! 

How the mists would roll up and away! 
How the earth would laugh out in her gladness! 

To hail the millennial day! " 



16 THE SUN. 



" In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 
And the earth was without form, and void ; and darkness 
was upon the face of the deep." " And God said, Let there 
be light : and there was light." — Gen. i, 1-3. 

" And God made two great lights ; the greater light to 
rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night : he made 
the stars also." — Gen. i, 16. 

"Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the 
height of the stars how high they are!" — Job xxii, 12. 

" He telleth the number of the stars ; he calleth them all 
by their names."— Psa. cxlvii, 4. 

" Take the earth and grind it into the smallest sand, and 
scatter it throughout space, and there will not be a grain 
for each star." — Agassiz. 

" The heavens number out the glory of the strong God." 
— David. 

" The heavens are a point from the pen of his perfection; 
The world is a rosebud from the bower of his beauty; 
The sun is a spark from the light of his wisdom ; 
And the sky a bubble on the sea of his power." 

— Sir W. Jones. 

" All God's flowers are rosebuds in language. And whether 
they are violets, or snow-flakes, or clustered suns, filling im- 
mensity with their mingled hues, if held to the heart instead 
of the ear, they will speak in their own language the con- 
stant syllable and power of love."— H. W. Waeken, D. D. 



t jez. e su nxr. 

[thought outline to help the memory.] 

1. Stars and Flanets? Relative importance of the Sun? Power of Sun over the 

Earth? What is a "Spectrum?" Calorific and actinic rays* Effects of 
Sun ? 

2. Man's religious nature and the Sun? Buddhism? Bible? 

3. Early conceptions of the Sun? Value of telescope and spectroscope? Size 

of Sun ? Distance from earth ? Mass or weight ? Some of the " phenom- 
ena" of the Sun? Define: Photosphere, corona, spots, faculse, cyclones. 

4. Probable future of the Sun ? The Sun as a symbol of God? 



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